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Developing a framework for selection of sustainable materials based on the embedded energy for building construction.

Senarath, S.B.R.; Chandrathilake, S.R.; Victoria, M.F.


S.B.R. Senarath

S.R. Chandrathilake


Y.G. Sandanayake

N.G. Fernando


Material selection in conventional construction projects concentrate on various criteria. However, sustainable construction must take into account of embodied energy of materials during material selection which is rarely addressed by construction professionals. Analysis of embondied energy of construction materials is important as increase in energy consumption will indirectly trigger a series of collisions leading to instability of the environment. Therefore, this research study aims at developing a framework for selection of materials based on embodied energy and other identified main parameters. The study was carried out based on figures retrieved from literature survey as well as on the perceptions of professionals involved in construction through questionnaire survey. The study categorized the identified significant materials based on five major elements (foundation, wall, roof, floor finishes and doors & windows) with two materials per each and evaluated their performance based on the parameters of embodied energy, price, durability and maintainability. According to empirical findings, most of the selected materials of the same element have performed in similar manner on the selected parameter. However, in some selected materials the results for embodied energy has a significant difference with their counterparts which had an impact on the overall score of those materials. Further, even though embodied energy parameter ranked last in the importance weightings, the parameter is of acceptable significance which can have a huge impact on material selection. Ultimately, framework for material selection was developed with the aid of research findings which comprises of four combinations of each of the selected materials with each other in terms of their performance on each individual parameter and on overall performance.


SENARATH, S.B.R., CHANDRATHILAKE, S.R. and VICTORIA, M.F. 2013. Developing a framework for selection of sustainable materials based on the embedded energy for building construction. In Sandanayake, Y.G. and Fernando, N.G. (eds.) Proceedings of the 2nd World construction symposium 2013: socio-economic sustainability in construction: practice, policy and research, 14-15 June 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Colombo: Ceylon Institute of Builders [online], pages 150-169. Available from:

Conference Name 2nd World construction symposium 2013
Conference Location Colombo, Sri Lanka
Start Date Jun 14, 2013
End Date Jun 15, 2013
Acceptance Date Jun 14, 2013
Online Publication Date Jun 14, 2013
Publication Date Jun 15, 2013
Deposit Date Feb 6, 2018
Publicly Available Date Feb 6, 2018
Publisher Ceylon Institute of Builders
Pages 150-169
ISBN 9789554516038
Keywords Embodied energy; Material selection; Sustainable construction
Public URL
Publisher URL


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